The Cost of a Flyover Faux Pas

This is a rush transcript from "On the Record ," April 28, 2009. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Got a pen? Take this one down -- $328,835. Now think what you could do with that amount of money. Now, here's what the White House thought to do with that huge amount of cash. According to the Air Force, that is how much money the White House spent yesterday to terrify New Yorkers. Watch this video. It shows our government truly not thinking, just being really dumb, a 747 and two F-16s flying low over Manhattan for a photo op to take pictures. Not kidding. This is a fact! The 747 is one of the planes used as Air Force One, and this mission was designed to get pictures of the plane in front of New York landmarks.

President Obama apologized for the flyover.





QUESTION: ... New York City yesterday, sir?

QUESTION: ... New York City yesterday with the Air Force plane?

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: It was a mistake, as was -- as was stated. It was something we found out about along with all of you. And it will not happen again.



VAN SUSTEREN: Do you wonder if yesterday's photo op mission was necessary? Well, take a look at this picture. It looks like Air Force One in front of the Statue of Liberty, right? Well, guess what? We made this today in our graphics department, didn't cost a dime! It was free. And to think we were promising -- we were promised something different!

Here's the president giving orders to his cabinet.


OBAMA: One of the things that -- messages that I delivered today to all members of the cabinet was, As well as you've already done, you're going to have to do more. I'm asking for all of them to identify at least $100 million in additional cuts to their administrative budgets, separate and apart from the work that Peter Orszag and the rest of our team are doing to go line by line with the budget and identify programmatic cuts that need to be made.


VAN SUSTEREN: Rush Limbaugh had some thoughts about this photo op flyover, as well.


LIMBAUGH: To do this at that altitude over that part of Manhattan -- over any part of Manhattan, but particularly down there over Ground Zero, it has to mean that you are in a 9/10 mentality. It has to mean that this is -- this is not even on your mind. It means, if you're a member of the Obama administration, that that's a Bush problem. Oh, well, that's -- that happened -- oh, we weren't here. We had nothing whatsoever to do with that.

Whatever it is, it was profoundly stupid not to tell the general public about this. And number two, it was terribly insensitive. Terribly! I mean, scared these people left and right in New York City, running out of their office buildings, running for cover!


VAN SUSTEREN: Sam Youngman, White House correspondent for The Hill, joins us live. I guess -- I take it the president -- this wasn't his idea.

SAM YOUNGMAN, THE HILL: Well, I think the word we've heard the most the last two days out of the White House is "furious."

VAN SUSTEREN: The president's furious?

YOUNGMAN: I think so.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well, but I mean, it's so profoundly stupid! Who was the idiot?

YOUNGMAN: Well, the gentleman's name is Louis Caldera, is what the White House is telling us. He issued an apology yesterday, and we get the sense today that heads are going to roll after a very brief internal review.

VAN SUSTEREN: You know, but I mean -- you know, there's terrifying New Yorkers. There's that one part. But there's $328,000. Now, I know that there was some other part of this exercise and training, but that -- I mean, when the president's going around, you know -- you know, telling everybody to -- everybody else -- everyone else in the cabinet, you know, Cut some costs, and then he -- this is under his watch.

YOUNGMAN: Right. And I mean, it reads like a bad credit card commercial -- you know, $300,000 for two training exercises scaring the bejesus out of already skittish New Yorkers is priceless. It really was just a bone-headed call. And the sense we got out of the White House today was that they're going to -- that they -- president has ordered a full internal review.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which is going to cost us more money!



VAN SUSTEREN: I mean, that's -- I mean, that's the other thing, too, is that -- I mean, like, why do we have to review this to know that this is just a stupid idea? Now we got to pay for a review!

YOUNGMAN: Right. Well, and -- but I think they're moving quickly on this. The sense we got from Robert Gibbs today was that it's going to take a week to two weeks. And whether or not those findings will be made public, we won't know. But we could be looking under...


YOUNGMAN: ... find a "help wanted" ad for Mr. Caldera.

VAN SUSTEREN: But I don't even get this. I mean, like, sometimes there are things, like, where, you know, it's sort of questionable whether we should do something or not. This isn't even questionable! I mean, like, you scare people. You could -- we photoshopped it, didn't cost us a dime. You could use probably old pictures. Don't they have old pictures? They -- that 747 hasn't changed since we got it in 1991 as Air Force One.

YOUNGMAN: And the Statue of Liberty's been around for a while.

VAN SUSTEREN: That's been around for a while, as well. I mean, like -- I mean, like, I still have a hard time, you know, getting an idea, like, why we even have to investigate this. I mean...

YOUNGMAN: I think -- to be fair, I think the president was as shocked as we were by this because I just -- I think it defies common sense.

VAN SUSTEREN: Well (INAUDIBLE) why don't we spend the time -- instead of investigating who did this one at this point (INAUDIBLE) why don't we investigate to see how else it's going to be done in the future to save that money and to save scaring those people? I mean, that -- sort of preventively, rather than...

YOUNGMAN: I would love to know where these pictures are used. I know last time I was on Air Force One -- I think you and I were coming back from Norfolk, Virginia, with President Bush. And they gave me a picture flying over the Grand Canyon. Now, is that what they use those for? Because I could have bought a postcard.

VAN SUSTEREN: I guess so. But I mean, it's just -- it is unbelievable to me. And $328,000, and we got people being putting out of their homes on foreclosures. He's telling the cabinet, you know, Cut your expenses, and right under his own nose in his own White House, we're doing that. And Gibbs and everybody else who's -- you know, all the way up the chain, they ought to be -- they ought to be -- I don't know what. Something.

YOUNGMAN: It almost sounds like real money these days in this town.

VAN SUSTEREN: Real money. Right. Sam, thank you.

YOUNGMAN: Thank you.

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